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Thread: shocked my MF image quality

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    shocked my MF image quality

    Yesterday I posted that I purchased a Mamiya ZD (probably as a temporary solution until I have made a final decision which MF-system I should go)
    Tonight I shot some meaningless images in my garden and some quick portraits of my daughter with either the D3+50/1.4 and the ZD+80/2.8

    Some with tripod, some with flash (I just put the SB800 on the Mamiya in A mode).

    I have to say that I am shocked at how much more detail, tonality and depth the ZD images show (on screen-pixel peeping - I havent done any prints).
    Even my wife, who is not that interested in my photo-addiction just told me "sell the Nikon" (which of course I wont because there are many things the Nikon is great).

    I dont know yet how big the difference would be in smaller prints where images from both (D3 or ZD) would be reduced in size though.

    I have to say that I did not expect such a difference.
    Now if I assume that the other brands digital backs are even better than the ZD - I expect that MF-digital will not just be an additional thing for few things but I will have to think to use it much more often than I initially thought I would.

    This might also change my selection of a MF-system. Portability and speed will become a much more important factor than initially, since I really think I will want to use the MF much more often than I expected before trying it.

    Just my first impressions. WOW. Needed to tell it somebody.

    Regards, Thomas

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Nothing like a nice sharp lens and a large sensor without a $%^&* AA filter... You see the same IQ on a smaller scale in shots from the Leica M8 and DMR.

    Glad the new purchase has impressed. As someone interested in going the MF route, would love to hear your impressions/thoughts as you move fwd.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Thanks for the insight!

    Hum! I'm wondering if S2 might not be the answer to that kind of usage/expectation and the one for many other people? Feel/speed/convenience of 35mm with MF quality! Just thinking out loud!

    If only Leica were a more "affordable" company!
    Last edited by Mozbee; 22nd October 2008 at 11:54. Reason: Adding last line!
    Francois B.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Welcome to MFD :-). Would have loved to have you on the Phase team; Shucks! :-P

    And yes, as they say, it only gets better from here. Don't forget that in the future you can rent/borrow a Phase Back (or any other mnfr) with mamiya/phase body and use your same lenses head to head with your ZD to see if the difference matters to you. Long exposure, high ISO, pushing/pulling shadow/highlight detail, shadow color fidelity, microdetail, diagonal lines, speed of shooting, field reliability, and flexibility of platforms, flexibility to shoot film as well (e.g. for infrared or cross processing), color fidelity under strongly cast lighting... all of it you could evaluate in person rather than in theory.

    Or you could come to one of Guy and Jack's seminar and have the chance to shoot/evaluate all of the systems (most end up being represented by at least one shooter at the larger seminars). It's sort of like a club you just joined (MFD) and we all want to meet you!

    Also check out Capture One 4.5 Pro (free trial on phaseone.com). It will process your ZD files as well. You would get great community support thereby because a lot of this forum uses C1.

    All that said the ZD is great for what it is, an entry to MFDBs, and I wish you all the best of luck.

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One Dealer
    Personal Portfolio

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Nothing like a nice sharp lens and a large sensor without a $%^&* AA filter... You see the same IQ on a smaller scale in shots from the Leica M8 and DMR.

    Glad the new purchase has impressed. As someone interested in going the MF route, would love to hear your impressions/thoughts as you move fwd.
    Rob,
    I also use an M8 (and had used DMR for some time) and have to say that even though the M8 has a weaker AA filter than the D3 and the difference can be seen in some images, the difference between the D3-images and the ZD is much bigger and much more obvious vs the difference between D3 and M8. (plus the M8 might exceed the D3 in detail but not in tonality IMO).

    I agree that the S2 becomes much more iteresting for me after this initial impression. Plus my fear that the ZD purchase could be a mistake has gone.
    I now dont have to hurry with my further decision. I might however need to get 1 or 2 (used) AF-Mamiya lenses.

    Again, just first impressions.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Interesting observations re: the M8 and D3. I should also have added big fat 'pixels' to my criteria ;> Congrats again on the move - please keep us posted as you progress if you feel inclined.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Hi Thomas,

    Good to see you over here, hope all is going well.

    I went through several of the same steps as you did in changing my equipment around. I was shooting with the M8 and D3 and was amazed at the usability of the D3 for fast focus and low light settings (I am/was also a fan of M8 files). But, whenever I printed a D3 file out in larger sizes, it seemed to invariably disappoint me (a certain mushiness and difficulty recovering shadows). Opening my first few medium format digital files was rather eye opening ... and the latitude of what you can do with those files was just as impressive.

    Kurt

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Welcome to MFD :-). Would have loved to have you on the Phase team; Shucks! :-P

    And yes, as they say, it only gets better from here. Don't forget that in the future you can rent/borrow a Phase Back (or any other mnfr) with mamiya/phase body and use your same lenses head to head with your ZD to see if the difference matters to you. Long exposure, high ISO, pushing/pulling shadow/highlight detail, shadow color fidelity, microdetail, diagonal lines, speed of shooting, field reliability, and flexibility of platforms, flexibility to shoot film as well (e.g. for infrared or cross processing), color fidelity under strongly cast lighting... all of it you could evaluate in person rather than in theory.

    Or you could come to one of Guy and Jack's seminar and have the chance to shoot/evaluate all of the systems (most end up being represented by at least one shooter at the larger seminars). It's sort of like a club you just joined (MFD) and we all want to meet you!

    Also check out Capture One 4.5 Pro (free trial on phaseone.com). It will process your ZD files as well. You would get great community support thereby because a lot of this forum uses C1.

    All that said the ZD is great for what it is, an entry to MFDBs, and I wish you all the best of luck.

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One Dealer
    Personal Portfolio
    Hi Doug,
    thanks for the welcome.
    Since I live in Germany (and only come to the US once every 1 or 2 years for work) I can not attend any workshops over there - really would like to meet you guys one day.

    Regarding C1pro from using it with the DMR and the M8- I really like the software (even though I sometimes struggle with the M8-profile regarding skin tones and therefore often also use ACR)- have to get used to the new user interface of C1 4.5

    I kind of jumped on the ZD because I got it for about 1/3 price of a refurbished P25-set, but (with some limitations) it could be a better compromise than I initially thought.

    I will now try to get the other medium format systems in my hands and see in what direction to go while exploring the ZD (who knows, maybe I will stay longer with it than I initially thought).

    Regards, Tom

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Yesterday I posted that I purchased a Mamiya ZD (probably as a temporary solution until I have made a final decision which MF-system I should go)
    Tonight I shot some meaningless images in my garden and some quick portraits of my daughter with either the D3+50/1.4 and the ZD+80/2.8

    Some with tripod, some with flash (I just put the SB800 on the Mamiya in A mode).

    I have to say that I am shocked at how much more detail, tonality and depth the ZD images show (on screen-pixel peeping - I havent done any prints).
    Even my wife, who is not that interested in my photo-addiction just told me "sell the Nikon" (which of course I wont because there are many things the Nikon is great).

    I dont know yet how big the difference would be in smaller prints where images from both (D3 or ZD) would be reduced in size though.

    I have to say that I did not expect such a difference.
    Now if I assume that the other brands digital backs are even better than the ZD - I expect that MF-digital will not just be an additional thing for few things but I will have to think to use it much more often than I initially thought I would.

    This might also change my selection of a MF-system. Portability and speed will become a much more important factor than initially, since I really think I will want to use the MF much more often than I expected before trying it.

    Just my first impressions. WOW. Needed to tell it somebody.

    Regards, Thomas
    Thomas,

    Welcome to the club. I too am a happy owner of a ZD back; there is a small contingent of us out here. Certainly, it is not a P45+ or similar, but it is a great digital back with incredible detail and solid color reproduction. I bought it knowing what it wasn't, and despite some bashing from dissatisfied users (some here but mostly on the LL forums), it has produced great imagery for me, within it's restraints. I still use a Nikon D300 for tough shadow shots and high iso work and I will probably upgrade to a new DB at some point within the next year.

    Use it a ton, enjoy, push it to its limits and share some of your work. Welcome.

    Josh

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Welcome to the club Thomas. i started my venture with the ZD back and nothing to sneeze at the files are very very nice. It is a great entry point as long as you realize it's limitations . It is a little slow on review and such and limited to a max of ISO 200 but the files are as you have seen very nice. You can build a nice Mamiya system of lenses for it used that will surprise you on price. There not that bad until you get the D series lenses and your back in Leica land. LOL

    I would recommend getting the 55mm AF right away , you will like this lens a lot and it is very cost effective, maybe 600 US tops used. Than you can go from there and build your system and when your ready to move up all you need is a Phase back. But these 22mpx 9 micron sensors are nothing to feel left out about, i have one myself and love it in the P25 plus.

    Also C1 is supporting the ZD back so i think you may have the lens corrections in there but not sure. Doug can answer this for you. You also have a great resource of mamiya folks here , lean on them for help
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    BTW Tom the ZD is a Aptus 22mpx sensor by Dalsa
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Congratulations! Your experience is quite like my own - a few years ago a VP for Phase One in the US loaned me a Contax with a Phase back for a day. The moment I saw the images on-screen, I was hooked. A year ago a Mamiya and a P45+ left me broke but very happy!

    Good luck, enjoy the quality!

    Bill

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    This might be a stupid question but can anybody explain me why it is not possible to deliever a FF/35mm size sensor without AA filter?
    Why is it not possible to make a sensor with lets say 10 or 12 MP, which delievers the same pixel quality as a MF sensor?
    Often I might not even need 22MP, but I want the clear/sharp images and tonality.
    I know the DMR might come close but why do Nikon/Canon and others do not do that?
    Thanks for any feedback,
    Tom

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    A higher-up at Canon did an interview with dpreview, and made a comment which clearly indicated that Canon think that potential moiré is a far more serious problem than unavoidable mush. I sold my 5D.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    BTW Tom the ZD is a Aptus 22mpx sensor by Dalsa
    So some (Leaf for example) claims how great dalsa sensors are, and the zd sensor has such a questionable reputation.
    Are these jsut different sensors or is the sensor of the zd just 1 or 2 generations behind?

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    So some (Leaf for example) claims how great dalsa sensors are, and the zd sensor has such a questionable reputation.
    Are these jsut different sensors or is the sensor of the zd just 1 or 2 generations behind?
    Tom it is a great question. First though when the integrated camera/body first came out there where early issues and i think a lot of bad press from that, than it went away on later models. Than the separate back came out and it was not such a issue. I think there was was some purple stuff going on, not really sure did not follow it much back than. Now as far as the sensor i guess there are some stories it was the second rate sensors that made it into the ZD, how much credence to that one I do question. A sensor is a sensor from the same build, not sure how much can really go wrong without having to trash it anyway. The sensor is said to come from leaf aptus 22 9 micron Dalsa sensor. Jack and I had ours at the same time and we did some tests on our backs and they seemed very good except the high ISO noise. Never saw any of the issues that some folks claimed. Someone here may have more of a full story on this than i can provide. But there is a nice niche of folks that have them and seem very happy with it. Hard not too it does produce some nice images. I moved up to Phase more for the speed and the higher ISO that the Phase backs provide. If i only did landscape type work at ISO 100 than I would have had it longer. But no matter it is a great entry point into MF at a reasonable cost and that is what counts more than anything you jumped into a different ball park.

    I know your feeling very well when the first images came across your screen. Words like wow, damn, holy s..t all come to mind. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    ......Jack and I had ours at the same time and we did some tests on our backs and they seemed very good except the high ISO noise. Never saw any of the issues that some folks claimed.....
    Yes, the guy who sold it to me told me that everything up to around 125 ISO was fine but better to not go higher.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Tom do try ISO 200 it actually has a nice look to it in B&W, it looks very nice. Worth a test. Glad to see the seller was honest with you also. You have a lot of help around here just ask.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Tom, you bought the integrated SLR camera, right?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Hi Thomas, and welcome to MF land. Love the title you gave this thread! I have been telling folks for a long time that just about any MF digital capture will blow away the best DSLR in terms of IQ, good to hear your experience is similar.

    Jack
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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Thomas - did you buy the 645AFDII + ZD back, or the original Mamiya ZD dSLR camera?

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Welcome to the wonderful world of MFD. Canons and Nikons are great at what they do best (I mostly use mine for travel and catalog work), but the files from my P25 still blow me away every time I use it.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    Thomas - did you buy the 645AFDII + ZD back, or the original Mamiya ZD dSLR camera?
    Hi Carsten,
    I got the ZD camera. It is not what I initially wanted but it allowed me to step in for a "reasonable" amount of money.
    Even if the form factor is far less "sexy" than most of the other MF-systems and the camera probably has its limitations (small display and noise at higher ISO for example) , I now also think the integrated design also has some advantages (size being one of them) ond not only disadvantages.

    I think that it also helps me to find out what I need and what I dont need in a digital system.

    One first impression is that due to the big step forward in IQ (which I did not expect to be that obvious) size and weight and also speed of a camera system have become a more important factor for me since I expect to use the MF-stuff quit often. Because of this the Leica S2-systems sounds more appealing to me than it did initially. I guess though that it will be too high priced for me. I will try to get my hands on the different systems and then make a decision.

    Grüße, Thomas

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    I handled the integrated ZD in a store once, and really liked it. Surprisingly, it barely weighed more than my camera at the time, a 5D. I recall some early talk about the integrated ZD not having the dynamic range of other MF digital offerings, but I guess it still has lots.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Thomas,

    I am about to get my hands on a ZD back, so your first impressions and tests with the ZD are quite valuable to me. Would you care to show us some samples of your work when you feel like it?
    I've searched the forum to see some samples but not quite sure there are so many.
    Hope you have fun with your ZD.

    Stef

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Stef could not find anything on that ,a bit surprised i posted a couple threads . Let me see if i can search them out
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Guy,

    Thanks for all those links, pictures and very valuable info (lots to read, goody) and as I step into the MF world (once again, after using for years an Epson R-D1 and some fine Voigtländer lenses), I can´t be happier and impatient to start shooting in this larger format, digitaly enhanced !
    Great pictures of a very nice part of the world you took too, I´ll practice my shooting there anytime (not soon, though, snif). Planning on going to Vietnam twice this year though, so I´ll keep you posted on that work.
    Once again thanks for all this great info, not any other forum I have checked has this friendly feeling.
    Merci !

    Stef

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by kloud View Post
    Thomas,

    I am about to get my hands on a ZD back, so your first impressions and tests with the ZD are quite valuable to me. Would you care to show us some samples of your work when you feel like it?
    I've searched the forum to see some samples but not quite sure there are so many.
    Hope you have fun with your ZD.

    Stef
    Stef,
    I am a little mimited with time and frankly havent shot anything which I think would be worth posting.
    I will try to post some images tomorrow or Sunday.
    Regards, Tom

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by kloud View Post
    Guy,

    Thanks for all those links, pictures and very valuable info (lots to read, goody) and as I step into the MF world (once again, after using for years an Epson R-D1 and some fine Voigtländer lenses), I can´t be happier and impatient to start shooting in this larger format, digitaly enhanced !
    Great pictures of a very nice part of the world you took too, I´ll practice my shooting there anytime (not soon, though, snif). Planning on going to Vietnam twice this year though, so I´ll keep you posted on that work.
    Once again thanks for all this great info, not any other forum I have checked has this friendly feeling.
    Merci !

    Stef
    Thanks , glad i could be of help.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    2 zd images

    Hi Stef,
    here are some first images. I have not figured out to resize and convert those images for web without loosing color fidaity and clarity.
    I will post more as son as I have figured out the best way of resize. (do you guys resize when converting in c1pro or afterwards with PS or do you use any other tool? How do you convert to srgb for web?
    Regards, Tom




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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    In PS just a quick way convert to SRGB than resize to largest dimension 900 pixels

    Read this also http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=54

    Also many folks bought Jacks web converter which I use all the time myself

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=398
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    In PS just a quick way convert to SRGB than resize to largest dimension 900 pixels

    Read this also http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=54

    Also many folks bought Jacks web converter which I use all the time myself

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=398
    I too love Jack's converter. You just need to get more folks to go one one of your workshops and get the other stuff free!! LOL

    Woody

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    LOL Yes Jacks converter is really handy. I use it on every image i am going to post besides the money goes to feed our wonderful IT guy Andy.

    We have to throw him a steak once in awhile to run this place on his massive servers.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    CS4 has fixed the issues with saving for web, and about time

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    That's a 200 dollar web converter . LOL

    Actually want to do it anyway, there are some nice new features that i am after. One is a better photomerge in CS4
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Guy, there are tons of small things which they made a lot nicer to work with. Just being able to zoom in and out freely, and have the image look good at any scale without 'jaggies' is a huge step forward. I posted my first impressions here: http://www.foto-z.com/blog/?p=67

  38. #38
    Super Duper
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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Thanks for the help. I still use CS2 and sometimes breezebrowaser for downscaling and find thati I loose detail and sharpness when doing so.
    I will have a look at this web converter and had planned to update PS anyways.
    I also feel my images look good in color-managed software but somewhat dull in internet explorer - Seems like they could take an extra boost of saturation. (I have converted them to srgb for the web) Anyone else experiences this difference?

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: shocked my MF image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by foto-z View Post
    Guy, there are tons of small things which they made a lot nicer to work with. Just being able to zoom in and out freely, and have the image look good at any scale without 'jaggies' is a huge step forward. I posted my first impressions here: http://www.foto-z.com/blog/?p=67
    Thanks Graham i did not know about the scaling , that sounds really nice. I may wait a couple weeks since I am on at least one project i am afraid to stir the pot with any changes to my system. But after that I will get it loaded up
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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